The talk of clouds in business is everywhere–mostly recently with the unveiling of iClouds for iTunes music storage. What is it? Simply put, with cloud computing, you pay to access an Internet-based service which hosts the software, hardware, and other resources you need to run your business. This eliminates the need for you to run software or other applications on your own computers; the cloud network handles everything. You use your own computers simply to access the system, and all your files and information are stored and managed and accessible through the cloud network.
The President and CEO of The Small Business Authority, Barry Sloane predicts that cloud computing will be the next big trend in the business community. “There is no doubt that business owners will embrace the cloud concept and over time gravitate towards its massive benefits. . . . Business owners will need to understand what the cloud is and what it can do for their businesses in the areas of cost control, data security, data protection, accessibility, efficiency and productivity to facilitate a smooth running technological platform for their business.”
There is certainly a lot of cost savings and work efficiency potential for small businesses with cloud computing. Users would have access to their files anytime and from anywhere, and it features shared usability. It is also designed to be scalable so that businesses can purchase only what they need, at the scale they need, and then the services can grow as the business and its needs grow. Fees for these services are usually charged on a month-to-month or annual basis.